Let's Talk about the manager -- The John Farrell Thread

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Minneapolis Millers

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On the hit and run, I'm not willing to kill Farrell for being aggressive.  He's trying to avoid a DP while pressuring the defense - a defense that had shown some inconsistency thus far in the series.  Would I have done it?  Probably not, because I simply can't stand watching Nava "run" the bases.  But it was not an indefensible decision, and certainly not incomprehensible.
 

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KillerBs said:
Also agree that Farrell's deserves full credit for the chemistry in the clubhouse, whatever its importance may be. 
 
I'm pretty sure Farrell would tell you that Cherington needs at least a bit of a nod here as well, if not more.
 
 
JimD said:
 
[SIZE=10pt]This.  We have only little glimpses through the media as to how Farrell manages this clubhouse, but the results absolutely speak for themselves.  ‘Relentless’ is a word that is in danger of being overused with this team, but it fits so well – not only in-game but in the bigger picture as well.  It is a marvel to look back at late August and September and see how this team fended off all comers and took every opportunity to put their divisional opponents in their place.  The Rays were a dangerous opponent, both in terms of the gauntlet they had run just to get to the ALDS and in their familiarity with the Sox, but Farrell had a game plan ready to grab the early series lead and then kept his team focused to overcome a frustrating loss and play an inspired game to win the series.  The Sox relentlessly outplayed Tampa and the Rays had to have almost everything go right in game 3 just to avoid a sweep.[/SIZE] 
 
Overused? I think it should be their slogan. I mean, it's the philosophy underlining the--wait:
 
JimD said:
 
I’ve watched baseball long enough to appreciate that it is less a blueprint and more a strange alchemy when it comes to building and sustaining winning teams.  How many Sox teams looked so great on paper before the season and proceeded to fall apart?  Yes, so many things have gone right to put the 2013 Sox on this road, but it also takes JF and his staff to take advantage of those talents and mesh the personalities, first rebuilding the clubhouse culture after the Fifth’s disastrous tenure and then keeping everyone on track day after day to be ready to take advantage of the opportunities at hand.  This aspect of managerial talent is easy to take for granted and almost impossible to measure, but I’m convinced it has played a crucial role in allowing this team to thrive and put itself in a position to win a championship. 
 
I take it you don't read Alex Speier?
 
This post is eerily reminiscent of the announcers' comments about the manager during the 20 game win streak in the movie version of Moneyball.
 

JimD

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Reverend said:
 
 
I take it you don't read Alex Speier?
 
This post is eerily reminiscent of the announcers' comments about the manager during the 20 game win streak in the movie version of Moneyball.
 
I read Speier's pieces and I fully acknowledge the methodical approach that has been so successfully followed by all concerned, but I don't believe the intangibles of managing a group of highly-competitive personalities can be simply discounted, either.  Red Sox fans should know all about talented rosters falling miserably short due to management incompetence, shouldn't we?  And while it's easy to make fun of Art Howe's stern countenance as Lewis did in Moneyball, I don't think it's necessarily fair to give Howe zero credit for his day-to-day management of the 2002 A's.
 

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JimD said:
 
I read Speier's pieces and I fully acknowledge the methodical approach that has been so successfully followed by all concerned, but I don't believe the intangibles of managing a group of highly-competitive personalities can be simply discounted, either.  Red Sox fans should know all about talented rosters falling miserably short due to management incompetence, shouldn't we?  And while it's easy to make fun of Art Howe's stern countenance as Lewis did in Moneyball, I don't think it's necessarily fair to give Howe zero credit for his day-to-day management of the 2002 A's.
 
OK, but this doesn't read like what you wrote before. You need a manager to manage the alchemy and the right players for the alchemy. I'm in no way discounting Farrel's job in managing the clubhouse chemistry. But in your one sentence here you refer to the intangibles and in the next, the talent that sometimes doesn't gel--the two are kept as separate issues. That's the whole point: in team construction this year they have specifically said that while obviously talent is the first priority, they also increasingly weighted how important baseball was to the player. 
 
Yes, you need the right manager to make the alchemy work, but you need a concerted effort to get the right manager to make it work with the right players too--they are all pieces of the larger thing. I don't think it takes anything away from Farrell to suggest that a lot of this was by design with a blueprint to do just this. I mean, it's what he himself says; I've heard him say it in person.
 

The Gray Eagle

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glennhoffmania said:
Besides the hit and run I don't have many complaints about last night.  The hit and run was an awful call though.  I'm more curious than anything about the Taz/Koji thing.  I figured if he was going to bring in Taz he'd let him finish the inning, or go at least until he got into some trouble.  I didn't understand letting him pitch to one batter, getting him out, and then going to Koji.  With his workload lately and at least one off day before they play again, I figured Koji could handle getting 5 outs.
 
Uehara seems comfortable getting four outs, but not more. From Sunday's Glob:
 
"Some 20 minutes after the win, which lifted the Sox to a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five American League Division Series, a pensive-looking Uehara teased a laugh out of a group of Japanese-speaking journalists in the Red Sox clubhouse. Later, through a translator, the vivacious righthander explained that the Asian reporters suggested that he could have pitched the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings, an unheard-of workload in today’s game of bullpen artistes.
“I told them not the seventh,’’ a smiling Uehara said flatly, which was what summoned the laugh.
 
To which an English-speaking reporter then asked if that meant he was up to taking the ball for the eighth and ninth. And with head tilted ever so slightly, and grin breaking out, the Mighty Koji said, “Four outs.’’
 

JimD

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Reverend said:
 
OK, but this doesn't read like what you wrote before. You need a manager to manage the alchemy and the right players for the alchemy. I'm in no way discounting Farrel's job in managing the clubhouse chemistry. But in your one sentence here you refer to the intangibles and in the next, the talent that sometimes doesn't gel--the two are kept as separate issues. That's the whole point: in team construction this year they have specifically said that while obviously talent is the first priority, they also increasingly weighted how important baseball was to the player. 
 
Yes, you need the right manager to make the alchemy work, but you need a concerted effort to get the right manager to make it work with the right players too--they are all pieces of the larger thing. I don't think it takes anything away from Farrell to suggest that a lot of this was by design with a blueprint to do just this. I mean, it's what he himself says; I've heard him say it in person.
 
I agree with that.  I guess what I was trying to say is, I just appreciate now how hard and unique it is for everything to come together. 
 
Maybe I am discounting the planning aspect of it, since Theo and his staff were undoubtedly more in control of the baseball operations during the highly-succesful 2003-08 run, while ownership interference (read: Larry Lucchino) was a hallmark of the 2010-12 debacle.
 

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The Gray Eagle said:
 
Uehara seems comfortable getting four outs, but not more. From Sunday's Glob:
 
"Some 20 minutes after the win, which lifted the Sox to a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five American League Division Series, a pensive-looking Uehara teased a laugh out of a group of Japanese-speaking journalists in the Red Sox clubhouse. Later, through a translator, the vivacious righthander explained that the Asian reporters suggested that he could have pitched the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings, an unheard-of workload in today’s game of bullpen artistes.
“I told them not the seventh,’’ a smiling Uehara said flatly, which was what summoned the laugh.
 
To which an English-speaking reporter then asked if that meant he was up to taking the ball for the eighth and ninth. And with head tilted ever so slightly, and grin breaking out, the Mighty Koji said, “Four outs.’’
 
Interesting.  I wonder why the line is drawn at 4.
 

Gunfighter 09

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Last, I wonder what this means going forward.  The logical extension of Farrell's decision last night would be to start Bogaerts against lefties.  JF cited Drew's troubles against southpaws and Xander's maturity.  Neither of those things is changing any time soon, and there's no real difference between the first inning and the middle part of the game.
 
 
This is all true, but there is a human element to this that might require that Farrell leave Drew as the starter just due to his status as one of the established veterans in the club house. The one or two at bats of superior X performance against lefties (offset by a slight defensive effectiveness reduction with Drew in the dugout) is probably not worth sending Drew into a funk or pissing off other veterans. I think Drew is a mature professional and that the rest of the team is full of gamers that understand performance = play and that they will all get their chance, but Farrell is paid to absolutely measure those effects (which we can't see) and it might be a factor in his decision making.  
 

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Farrell's comments after the game lead me to believe that his decision last night was about Drew's AB the night before against McGee specifically, not necessarily indicative of a decision to outright platoon against all lefties.  Farrell was also pretty clear about his reasons for not pinch hitting early in the game when Moore came in -- it was too early to burn players when you know that more pitching changes are coming where you might like them back.  My hunch based on this stuff is that we're still going to see Drew getting every start, including against lefties.  He plays better defense, and if this series doesn't convince anyone that defense matters, nothing will.  Plus, the number 8 batter often only gets 2 ABs against the starter anyway, and if he gets a third you can decide whether or not to pinch hit late depending on the situation -- maybe having the pinch hitter in your pocket gives you the opportunity to get a reliever out of the game that you really want to burn.
 
I thought the most interesting part of last night's game was the clear emergence of Breslow as the late inning set up guy (with maybe Taz as a bridge), without regard to the side of the plate the batters hit from.  Breslow's splits seem to support that kind of thinking.  I have trouble, though, thinking of too many managers who go with a lefty as their set up man or closer.  Just not a lot of them in the history of baseball -- though of course some pretty famous ones, like Righetti, Billy Wagner, Orosco.
 

ivanvamp

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JimD said:
I read Speier's pieces and I fully acknowledge the methodical approach that has been so successfully followed by all concerned, but I don't believe the intangibles of managing a group of highly-competitive personalities can be simply discounted, either.  Red Sox fans should know all about talented rosters falling miserably short due to management incompetence, shouldn't we?  And while it's easy to make fun of Art Howe's stern countenance as Lewis did in Moneyball, I don't think it's necessarily fair to give Howe zero credit for his day-to-day management of the 2002 A's.
I am convinced that by far the most important part of being a manager of a MLB team is managing PEOPLE, not individual games. These guys are together 8-9 months in a row, virtually every day. They travel together, room together, eat together. There can often be some pretty combustible ego combinations and people that, frankly, are a major PIAs. Keeping all that together and humming along has to be a very difficult task.

After that, it is game preparation - dealing with the injuries, etc., going over scouting reports, making lineups, setting up bullpen assignments for the day, etc.

And then, down the list, are the actual in-game X's and O's. but it's that last part that fans focus on the most.
 

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Back to the hit and run with Ross/Nava: my assumption at the time was that Ross would not get on base and most likely would strike out, so my preference was to avoid running into the out in the hopes of extending the inning another batter. Puts more pressure on Rodney, who was having trouble throwing strikes anyhow, and gets you closer to the top of the order for the 9th.
 

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glennhoffmania said:
 
Interesting.  I wonder why the line is drawn at 4.
 
Because it's the least number of outs he can record if he comes in in the eighth inning to close? 
 

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Right, but I meant, is he simply incapable of throwing enough pitches in one outing to get 5 or 6 outs?  If the tying run is on with 1 out in the 8th against Detroit and Miggy is up, I want to see Koji come in.
 

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glennhoffmania said:
Right, but I meant, is he simply incapable of throwing enough pitches in one outing to get 5 or 6 outs?  If the tying run is on with 1 out in the 8th against Detroit and Miggy is up, I want to see Koji come in.
 
I read that as a continuation of the joking tone he had with the Japanese reporters.  I suspect Farrell would put him in with 1 out in the 8th if the situation called for it.
 
edit:  He pitched 2 innings 3 times this year (once in June, twice in July) and he had a 5 out save in September.  It might not be his preference, but he can do it.
 

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glennhoffmania said:
Right, but I meant, is he simply incapable of throwing enough pitches in one outing to get 5 or 6 outs?  If the tying run is on with 1 out in the 8th against Detroit and Miggy is up, I want to see Koji come in.
He was joking around.
 

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BlackJack said:
 
I read that as a continuation of the joking tone he had with the Japanese reporters.  I suspect Farrell would put him in with 1 out in the 8th if the situation called for it.
 
edit:  He pitched 2 innings 3 times this year (once in June, twice in July) and he had a 5 out save in September.  It might not be his preference, but he can do it.
 
Well, that 5 out save was in a game that clinched the AL East for the Sox, and Tazawa had just given up a homer and a single to bring the tying run to the plate for Toronto, so the stakes were pretty high in that game.
 
(Hmm. Why was Tazawa pitching last night?)
 
--
Edit: typos that I can't even blame on a phone
 

lambeau

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Drew was cool about X after the game--we're all pulling together.
 
I think clearly Farrell talked to him before the game about the possibility.
 
Maybe the FO had to encourage Farrell in this--that he could be diplomatic with Drew and bring him around; I doubt it just came to him after 40 days and 40 nights.
 

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Farrell did an interview with Salk and Holley yesterday that I heard on the way home - nothing revelatory, but they asked him about the "changing his mind" thing with X/Drew and it was almost like he couldn't quite explain it. Basically it came down to: We tried it one way and it didn't work so we tried it another way. 
 
I liked it. In a way, he almost seemed to be saying that the fans think about these things more than he does. Farrell and the coaches prepare for possibilities, but you're never sure, obviously, whether something is going to work or not, so sometimes you just take a flyer and see what happens. 
 
And he knows all the numbers - he was rattling off how righties and lefties hit against McGee, how often McGee throws anything other than a fastball, etc. - say that he should have left Drew in, considering McGee's reverse splits, but Drew hadn't looked great the night before, so he decided to shake it up with Gomes and X. It worked, but it's not like Farrell sounded like he was uber confident it would work. He just felt like he needed to shake things up a bit. 
 
I have to admit, the more I hear Farrell talk, the more I like him. 
 

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I hated the hit-and-run in Game 4, but then again I pretty much always hate the hit-and-run.  I find it quite surprising that with all the scorn that the sabermetric movement has heaped onto the bunt and (to a lesser extent) the stolen base, the hit-and-run has mostly been left alone.  I guess this is because it is more difficult to evaluate with any degree of quantitative rigor.  Nonetheless, the hit-and-run clearly flies in the face of the modern understanding of hitting, with pitch selectiveness as the foundation of a successful approach, instead hearkening back to the stupid, dead-ball-era mentality that the batter's primary responsibility is to "put the ball in play."  If a manager really does find it necessary to engage in this foolishness from time to time, he should at least save it for a situation where the batter in question has a high contact percentage on swings, and a high GB percentage on balls in play.  Ross has neither of these.  
 
I really hope that this was just a one-time brain fart on Farrell's part.
 

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JimD said:
 
I agree with that.  I guess what I was trying to say is, I just appreciate now how hard and unique it is for everything to come together. 
 
Maybe I am discounting the planning aspect of it, since Theo and his staff were undoubtedly more in control of the baseball operations during the highly-succesful 2003-08 run, while ownership interference (read: Larry Lucchino) was a hallmark of the 2010-12 debacle.
 
I think one problem is you are vastly oversimplifying how management works in complex organizations and looking for good guys and bad guys.  The Sox had a lot of experienced people involved in the front office in Theo's early years and most reports at the time had them all involved in helping him learn the job, which includes learning how to work with ownership/senior management and the field staff.  This is when the team had its greatest success.
 
Later in Theo's tenure, a lot of those people had changed and Theo seemed to lose the ability to navigate that path effectively first in the direction of senior management, then field staff.  It's just unknown from the outside how to assess what happened there---certainly, there's going to be a multitude of contributions.   To the degree one assesses chemistry, it is hard not to conclude that Theo and Tito lost whatever planning mechanism had led to good chemistry in the clubhouse during 2003-5 and that problem accelerated in Theo's last years.

Then, after Theo quit to go to the Cubs Lucchino got more involved and made what is probably the single worst decision of the Henry era with Valentine; that was a complete, and sadly foreseeable, disaster.  But keep in mind, they also realized the problem---a new GM who predated any of these guys came in, the same ownership and senior execs realized change was needed and signed a bunch of FAs (Gomes, Victorino, Napoli) ripped by the great majority of this board who, it appears, helped fix the chemistry issues.   
 
All that is part of the equation that any manager inherits, presumably with some level of input into acquisitions.  So when we talk about chemistry and the manager I think we should also look at the larger picture too.
 

ivanvamp

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Time to sit Napoli.  Last 10 games (last 5 of regular season + last 5 of post season):
 
33 ab, 2 r, 6 h, 3 2b, 0 3b, 0 hr, 3 rbi, 11 bb, 14 k, .182/.386/.273/.659
 
Carp time, just for one game.  See how it works.  
 

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Hope the slept helped you.
 
Ross is going to play his game or two - and do you really think Salty would have been better at the plate? He's been pretty rough lately and Sanchez wasn't exactly throwing it down the pipe. Drew is the shortstop and that is not going to change.  He is excellent in the field.  WMB is a much more reliable 3B man than X is right now, though I think this is the one change we might see for the bat  But even that - I think pitchers like having a great defense behind them, so I would still be a little surprised to see this. And Nava is not going to start every game just because it's all righty starters. Gomes will get his shot - his numbers are actually better this year against righties (.265/.393/.496 against right handed starters) and he was pretty good in September.  He's managing the way he has all year, minus the pinch hitting appearances, which he is making happen in almost every post season game.  That would not have happened in the regular season. I'm not sure there was anything that could have been done last night to hit the Tigers.  Sanchez was absolutely fabulous, he was just filthy all night.  And the relievers looked pretty darn good as well, and by then, every single guy was pressing just a little bit, and pressing against 96mph fastballs and dirty sliders equals ugly.
 
Sometimes you just get beat by awesome, and that's what happened last night.
 

luckysox

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ivanvamp said:
Time to sit Napoli.  Last 10 games (last 5 of regular season + last 5 of post season):
 
33 ab, 2 r, 6 h, 3 2b, 0 3b, 0 hr, 3 rbi, 11 bb, 14 k, .182/.386/.273/.659
 
Carp time, just for one game.  See how it works.  
This is a change I would endorse. Man alive, the guy is so all or nothing.  When he is hot, he carries the team.  But his slumps are pretty freaking slumpy. Of course, the only way out of a slump is to keep hitting. 
 

ivanvamp

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luckysox said:
This is a change I would endorse. Man alive, the guy is so all or nothing.  When he is hot, he carries the team.  But his slumps are pretty freaking slumpy. Of course, the only way out of a slump is to keep hitting. 
 
Right.  That's the problem.  He struggled for a stretch in July/August, but then rebounded with this 11 game stretch:  .375/.479/.925/1.404, 6 hr, 15 rbi in just 40 ab.
 
So if the switch gets flipped back on, the guy could put the team on his back all the way to WS victory.  
 

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I didn't see the game because the start time was 2AM in my time zone. But when I woke up and looked through the game log, my first impression— after total disbelief and amazement at the outcome— was that Ortiz must have seriously gotten Farrell off the hook for a disastrously-too-slow hook with Buchholz. Was that the prevailing sentiment watching it live? Seems like you have to pull him after the V-Mart double at the latest. 
 

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m0ckduck said:
I didn't see the game because the start time was 2AM in my time zone. But when I woke up and looked through the game log, my first impression— after total disbelief and amazement at the outcome— was that Ortiz must have seriously gotten Farrell off the hook for a disastrously-too-slow hook with Buchholz. Was that the prevailing sentiment watching it live? Seems like you have to pull him after the V-Mart double at the latest. 
Yes. Everything was being hit hard against him and Farrell was very slow in responding....
Not entirely sure what he was thinking but very glad Papi made the whole conversation moot..
 

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I'm not seeing the slow hook issue with Buchholz, and I couldn't believe how much Buck and McCarver were harping on it.  Buchholz was cruising up to Cabrera's AB (no hits since the second, only an HBP and an E6 put any runners on).  Cabrera's HR was on a 1-0, followed by Fielder's double on the first pitch, then Martinez was 1-2 when he hit the double.  There was no reason to have someone warming to start the inning, which is arguably what would have needed to happen to have a pitcher ready by the time Martinez reached.
 
I guess an argument could be made that Farrell shouldn't have allowed Buchholz to pitch to Avila, but if they were truly afraid of Avila, the guy they would have had up would have been Doubront or Morales rather than Workman (i.e. a lefty).  But overall, I think that inning is entirely on Buchholz just losing his edge rather than Farrell not acting/reacting fast enough.
 

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I think in the playoffs you want to err on the side of caution, especially with a guy who hasn't really gotten his stamina back after being out, and so I would personally have gotten someone up once it got to the third time through the order. That said, Buchholz basically unraveled in the span of 11 pitches so I have a hard time killing Farrell for that. I guess they could have stalled like Girardi would, but I can see the argument for hoping he works out of it and can give you another inning or two.
 

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I see the err on the side of caution argument, a la the quick hook on Peavy in Game 4 of the LDS.  But entering the 6th, Buchholz was at 62 pitches.  He's exceeded 100 pitches in each of his last three outings.  It's not as though he was laboring, and according to the Farrell law of not letting a starter see more than three jams in a game, Buchholz hadn't had more than 2 (2nd and 4th).  There was no reason to think he couldn't go at least two more innings as the 6th started.  I think if this was game 7 or any other elimination game, Farrell has someone warming pretty much every inning.  Since it was Game 2, he was much more inclined to let it ride with one of his best pitchers.
 

ivanvamp

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Red(s)HawksFan said:
I see the err on the side of caution argument, a la the quick hook on Peavy in Game 4 of the LDS.  But entering the 6th, Buchholz was at 62 pitches.  He's exceeded 100 pitches in each of his last three outings.  It's not as though he was laboring, and according to the Farrell law of not letting a starter see more than three jams in a game, Buchholz hadn't had more than 2 (2nd and 4th).  There was no reason to think he couldn't go at least two more innings as the 6th started.  I think if this was game 7 or any other elimination game, Farrell has someone warming pretty much every inning.  Since it was Game 2, he was much more inclined to let it ride with one of his best pitchers.
 
Not to defend Clay in the 6th, but....
 
- The pitch to Cabrera was high - out of the strike zone.  It was a bad pitch, a hanging change (I think), but it was still out of the strike zone.  It wasn't a middle-middle pitch.  Cabrera, being Cabrera, did not miss it.
 
- The pitch to Fielder was high and away - also out of the strike zone.  He got the bat head up and out and drilled it.  Fine piece of hitting on a ball that was clearly not a strike.  
 
- The pitch to Victor...well, McCarver kept saying that it was a high curve.  In fact, it was a low curve, out of the strike zone at the bottom.  It was shin-high, and Victor golfed it.
 
So I'm not saying Buchholz was pitching well that inning, but all three of those pitches were examples of the Tigers hitting pitches that were not in the strike zone.  Vlad Guerrerro type hitting there, really.  They're all great hitters, that's what they do.  But none of them were meatballs.
 

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I found letting Buchholz pitch to Avila a mistake

Don't understand Napoli hitting for Carp

Why didn't Berry run for Gomes in the 9th?
 

TomRicardo

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Plympton91 said:
I found letting Buchholz pitch to Avila a mistake

Don't understand Napoli hitting for Carp

Why didn't Berry run for Gomes in the 9th?
 
Berry made sense.  If Salty gets on with a walk or single that doesn't get Gomes home I switch Berry out with Salty to try to avoid the double play.
 

mfried

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Red(s)HawksFan said:
I'm not seeing the slow hook issue with Buchholz, and I couldn't believe how much Buck and McCarver were harping on it.  Buchholz was cruising up to Cabrera's AB (no hits since the second, only an HBP and an E6 put any runners on).  Cabrera's HR was on a 1-0, followed by Fielder's double on the first pitch, then Martinez was 1-2 when he hit the double.  There was no reason to have someone warming to start the inning, which is arguably what would have needed to happen to have a pitcher ready by the time Martinez reached.
 
I guess an argument could be made that Farrell shouldn't have allowed Buchholz to pitch to Avila, but if they were truly afraid of Avila, the guy they would have had up would have been Doubront or Morales rather than Workman (i.e. a lefty).  But overall, I think that inning is entirely on Buchholz just losing his edge rather than Farrell not acting/reacting fast enough.
Buchholz was erratic in this game - great one inning, terrible the next.  His pitches in his bad innings were hovering high - spelling disaster.  Farrell was hoping to see him throw a few good pitches and have a reliever start the next inning with a clean slate.  It didn't work.  I think Buchholz had low-temperature problems - don't really blame Farrell.
 

mfried

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Lose Remerswaal said:
Why did Napoli hit for Carp against the rightie in the 8th?  I understand the defensive improvement, but Mike hasn't hit anything in weeks.
I disagreed with this move as you did, LR.  Carp simply looked disappointingly terrible in his previous ABs.  I wonder who will start at 1st base on Tuesday.
 

DJnVa

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Lose Remerswaal said:
Why did Napoli hit for Carp against the rightie in the 8th?  I understand the defensive improvement, but Mike hasn't hit anything in weeks.
 
SSS, but Napoli is 1-4, with a HR and 2 BB against Benoit. Maybe he sees him well.
 
 
 
Why didn't Berry run for Gomes in the 9th?      
 
   
This came up in the game thread. Likely because Berry's biggest value is getting from first to second. Gomes was already there and is a pretty good runner. Neither Berry nor Gomes will score on single to LF, and both will probably score on hits to CF and RF.
 
With 0 outs, they likely weren't going to take chances sending the runner from second on a hit, even if it's Berry. So, in case Detroit got out of the jam, Berry is still available.
 
That equation might be different had the Sox been down a run, or had there been 1 out. YMMV but I think that's the thought process.
 

rembrat

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ivanvamp said:
 
Not to defend Clay in the 6th, but....
 
- The pitch to Cabrera was high - out of the strike zone.  It was a bad pitch, a hanging change (I think), but it was still out of the strike zone.  It wasn't a middle-middle pitch.  Cabrera, being Cabrera, did not miss it.
 
- The pitch to Fielder was high and away - also out of the strike zone.  He got the bat head up and out and drilled it.  Fine piece of hitting on a ball that was clearly not a strike.  
 
- The pitch to Victor...well, McCarver kept saying that it was a high curve.  In fact, it was a low curve, out of the strike zone at the bottom.  It was shin-high, and Victor golfed it.
 
So I'm not saying Buchholz was pitching well that inning, but all three of those pitches were examples of the Tigers hitting pitches that were not in the strike zone.  Vlad Guerrerro type hitting there, really.  They're all great hitters, that's what they do.  But none of them were meatballs.
 
I agree. I felt like McCarver antagonized the entire situation. I mentioned in the GT that Farrell handled Clay exactly how he handled him in Gm 3 of the ALDS. Clay gave up 3 runs in the 5th inning of that game and he looked done but he got out of it. He would go on to pitch a clean and easy 6th inning before his night was done. The same thing happened here but he couldn't right the ship.
 
I think going forward Farrell and his coaches need to start looking towards that 60-70 pitch count as a place where things could potentially go wrong and have someone up in the pen.
 

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Naps plays tomorrow.  Stats v Verlander are pretty good.  
 
7-23, with a homer and 5 walks.  
 
Also, there was no need to run for Gomes with 0 outs.  If you have 2 outs and there could be a bang bang at the plate, yea, but with 0 outs and the runner already in scoring position.  Let the station to station play out.  We're not swiping third there.
 

Philip Jeff Frye

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DrewDawg said:
 
With 0 outs, they likely weren't going to take chances sending the runner from second on a hit, even if it's Berry. So, in case Detroit got out of the jam, Berry is still available.
 
And you haven't lost Gomes' bat if his spot comes up again.
 

Toe Nash

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PaulinMyrBch said:
Naps plays tomorrow.  Stats v Verlander are pretty good.  
 
7-23, with a homer and 5 walks.  
 
Also, there was no need to run for Gomes with 0 outs.  If you have 2 outs and there could be a bang bang at the plate, yea, but with 0 outs and the runner already in scoring position.  Let the station to station play out.  We're not swiping third there.
 
Doesn't Berry have a better chance of getting to third on a sac fly / groundout and then getting home on another sac fly? And of getting home on a single to the outfield? With the Monster too, you want every edge -- "scoring position" doesn't apply as much as other parks. You still have Nava or Xander on the bench to PH for Berry if it goes to extras.
 
I don't know that it's as much of a difference on the bases to justify taking Gomes out but I think it's definitely very close. I guess the best argument is if you're saving Berry for a time where you need the stolen base, but how likely is that?
 

czar

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mfried said:
Buchholz was erratic in this game - great one inning, terrible the next.  His pitches in his bad innings were hovering high - spelling disaster.  Farrell was hoping to see him throw a few good pitches and have a reliever start the next inning with a clean slate.  It didn't work.  I think Buchholz had low-temperature problems - don't really blame Farrell.
 
I disagree. Buchholz had one bad stretch in the 2nd (and maybe you could argue the 2-3 pitch sequence when he hit V-Mart, threw a WP, then Drew botched the GB), but otherwise, after 5 IP he had a 6/0 K/BB and a 15+% SwStr%. His command wasn't fantastic but had tremendous stuff which allowed him to get away with a few bad pitches.
 
---------------
 
I wanted him gone before the Avila AB* (but like others said, it was because I would have rather seen a lefty/lefty matchup if they didn't want to pitch around him) but McCarver A) pretended like pitchers could warm up in 25 seconds and B) had the benefit of hindsight one things came undone.
 
Dave Cameron brought up a very good point on Twitter last night -- with all the offdays and a 4-man rotation, there really is little reason to force a pitcher to get through the 7th or so to turn the lineup over 3 times. If the Sox had Doubront/Dempster lightly tossing once AJax came around again, I think it might have been a nice safety net, but then again, I don't think anyone would deny that Buchholz looked extraordinarily sharp so it probably wasn't something as pressing for Farrell.
 
While I keep babbling randomly, I felt Buchholz's mechanics were probably off a bit at some point in the 6th, although I'm not enough of an expert to actually make that conclusion. Not that I'll ever get an answer from him, but I wonder if this is something Farrell notices.
 
*On the same note, I believe Avila swung at the first pitch every time up (both times were fastballs). I was shocked Salty called FB over the inner half for that one.
 

KillerBs

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I can't give Farrell a pass on the 6th inning. He should have had double barrelled action up after the Fielder double, at the least, knowing this was a criticial moment in the game. 3rd time through the order, with all indications that 1 or 2 runs could be the game. Buchholz looked visibly spent, fastball velocity down, loss of command. but Farrell did not even get anyone warming up until the Peralta AB, i.e. after 6 conasecutive batters hammered the ball. Way to slow to react, deer in the head lights moment. Why did he not get Morales up at all?
 
Farrell needs to realize that the 6th inning in the play-offs is late.
 
I also can't defend not PR for Gomes with Berry. The increased chances of Berry scoring there, surely make up for anything lost (?) from having Gomes out of the game there.
 
I also do not get why Ross started game 1 or Gomes game 2. Farrell has sat a better hitter/player in each game, for no apparent reason.
 

PaulinMyrBch

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Toe Nash said:
 
Doesn't Berry have a better chance of getting to third on a sac fly / groundout and then getting home on another sac fly? And of getting home on a single to the outfield? With the Monster too, you want every edge -- "scoring position" doesn't apply as much as other parks. You still have Nava or Xander on the bench to PH for Berry if it goes to extras.
 
I don't know that it's as much of a difference on the bases to justify taking Gomes out but I think it's definitely very close. I guess the best argument is if you're saving Berry for a time where you need the stolen base, but how likely is that?
Yes, Berry is marginally better in those situations, but not enough to justify pinch running for Gomes IMO. Papi maybe, but not a guy like Gomes, who is actually a good baserunner. Excellent instincts, jumps, etc. As it played out we scored very easily.  What usually kills you in that situation (runner at second, no outs) is the at bats (infield pops, k's, etc) not so much lack of elite speed at second.
 
However, having said that, if we had Billy Hamilton, I'd have pinch run him just for the sheer amount of havoc he creates.
 
But, I don't find it a bad or even marginally bad managerial decision to leave Gomes on second in that situation.
 

PaulinMyrBch

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KillerBs said:
I can't give Farrell a pass on the 6th inning. He should have had double barrelled action up after the Fielder double, at the least, knowing this was a criticial moment in the game. 3rd time through the order, with all indications that 1 or 2 runs could be the game. Buchholz looked visibly spent, fastball velocity down, loss of command. but Farrell did not even get anyone warming up until the Peralta AB, i.e. after 6 conasecutive batters hammered the ball. Way to slow to react, deer in the head lights moment. Why did he not get Morales up at all?
 
Farrell needs to realize that the 6th inning in the play-offs is late.
 
I also can't defend not PR for Gomes with Berry. The increased chances of Berry scoring there, surely make up for anything lost (?) from having Gomes out of the game there.
 
I also do not get why Ross started game 1 or Gomes game 2. Farrell has sat a better hitter/player in each game, for no apparent reason.
Walk me through the situations where Berry scores and Gomes doesn't.  You've got a better argument that Berry should have pinch hit for Salty and bunted than he should have pinch ran for Gomes.  (Salty admitted there was 0 chance he was bunting.)
 

Harry Hooper

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rembrat said:
 
I agree. I felt like McCarver antagonized the entire situation. I mentioned in the GT that Farrell handled Clay exactly how he handled him in Gm 3 of the ALDS. Clay gave up 3 runs in the 5th inning of that game and he looked done but he got out of it. He would go on to pitch a clean and easy 6th inning before his night was done. The same thing happened here but he couldn't right the ship.
 
I think going forward Farrell and his coaches need to start looking towards that 60-70 pitch count as a place where things could potentially go wrong and have someone up in the pen.
 
The difference is the off day today vs. no off day after Game 3 of the ALDS. Farrell should have had someone getting loose. Plus, as we noted all year, Farrell unfortunately follows Tito's lead where the Sox will NOT do the Torre/Girardi extended stall routine when it's needed.
 

trekfan55

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Gomes is acknowledged to be one of the smartest baserunners in baseball.  Witness him scoring on an infield single vs the Rays.
 
If he is at first then maybe Farrell replaces him with Berry so he steals second.  However, Gomes at 2nd was probably the best runner the Sox could wish for right there.  If it had been Nava OTO...
 

KillerBs

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PaulinMyrBch said:
Walk me through the situations where Berry scores and Gomes doesn't.  You've got a better argument that Berry should have pinch hit for Salty and bunted than he should have pinch ran for Gomes.  (Salty admitted there was 0 chance he was bunting.)
 
There is a whole subset of singles that exist where Berry's speed makes the difference. And then there are the various scenarios where his speed gets him to 3rd on an out or a short WP etc, as noted above.  Gomes is a good baserunner true but Berry is a lot better of course. I would have thought it clear that Berry's speed increases the chances of scoring there What makes it an easy decision IMO is that you are giving up nothing to remove Gomes from the game there. Nava is a better hitter and fielder, right? You could have even PR Berry and left him in LF and improved the defense. The only rationale I can come up with is saving the PR for later, which also makes little to no sense in this context. 
 
In any event, it seems odd to be harping on this after such a monumental victory. It worked out -- no harm, no foul, I suppose. And the PR Berry issue pales in comparison as far as I am concerned to the absurdly slow hook in the 6th. (By the way, I trust Farrell learned last night that Workman is not a good option for Hi-Lev moments -- topped out at 91, wild and little more than a show me breaking ball. Give me Dempster (no give me Tazawa) over that). 
 
To be fair, I do like that Farrell stuck with Middlebrooks in the 8th and not just post facto. As much as I love me some Bogie, I was glad to see Farrell stick with WMB in that spot. This is one of those cases where in the face of high uncertainty it makes sense to me to show some confidence in the starter.
 
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